Forget about the First Amendment, the indispensable role of vigorous debate and testing in the progress of scientific knowledge, the reality of major reversals in science, the tremendous benefits of fossil-fuel-derived energy in lifting and keeping whole societies—and their individual members—out of poverty, disease, and premature death.
Those mean nothing to climate alarmists like Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), the Natural Resources Defense Council and other large environmentalist organizations, and the current hierarchy in President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency.
No, these folks are hell bent on silencing anyone (like us) who questions whether human emissions of carbon dioxide are going to destroy human civilization, maybe even fry the planet. And they intend to use the strong hand of the law to do it.
At a meeting February 10 hosted by the hyper-Left/Progressive organization American Constitution Society for Law and Policy (ACS), a panel of speakers made the case for applying RICO (Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) to individuals, corporations, non-profits, and anyone else who dares act like Galileo four centuries ago—or for that matter like Barry Marshall and Robin Warren, the two intrepid medical researchers who four decades ago refused to bow to the consensus in medicine that peptic ulcers were all caused by excess acid and discovered that most are caused by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), winning the 2005 Nobel Prize in Medicine for that heretical act.
Sharon Eubanks (Partner, Bordas & Bordas, PLLC, and lead counsel for the United States in United States v. Phillip Morris, et al., the RICO tobacco case) “laid out the essential requirements of a RICO case” to the ACS meeting, as Craig Richardson of Energy & Environment Legal Institute summarized:
First, she explained that any person, formal or informal association, corporation or the like that has a “pattern of conspiracy” shown to participate in “any association in fact” would be subject to a RICO prosecution. If an organization received funds from Exxon to examine and discuss climate change, everyone in that organization would be subject to RICO, as would the beer buddies who discussed the issue over lunch and later went on to offer their personal opinions on the subject that were “denier” in nature, even if the beer buddies didn’t receive any of the grant and were simply using their first amendment right to free speech.
“Sort of chilling,” Richardson commented.
Well, yes, sort of chilling.
For more details on the ACS meeting and the growing threat to free speech, to vigorous scientific debate, and to energy-derived human flourishing, see Richardson’s full report on this threat to liberty, to science, and to the health and long life that come from the energy provided by fossil fuels.